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Broadband Plan Could Learn From Cable Labs Collaborative M

By: John Eggerton, Multichannel News

Former Cable Labs chief Dick Green wants the government to promote the kind of collaborative research that resulted in the DOCSIS standard for cable high-speed modem data delivery and to find ways to incentivize research through government contracting.

Speaking at an FCC broadband workshop on spurring research, Green pointed to the National Cooperative Research Act of 1984, which allowed Cable Labs to form by removing antitrust problems with joint research.

Green also took the opportunity to put in a plug for that standard, pointing out that by 2010 it will have the capability of delivering more than 300 megabits per second.

He said the government, as part of the national broadband plan, should encourage more such collaborations, which increases the number of joint projects and boosts competitiveness of the U.S. in reasearch. It has numerous benefits, he said, including reducing costs, eliminating duplicative efforts, and encouraging synergies.

Green told the workshop audience that the cable industry had invested $145 billion in private capital to build fiber-rich, two-way interactive networks, which has been followed by hundreds of billions by wireless, telco and satellite companies.

Green had another suggestion for the government: tie research to government contracts. He pointed to the Defense Department, where contracts include offest for the cost of industry research, allowing companies to recover the costs as part of the contract, so the government winds up paying its share of R&D in the price it pays for products and services in the contract.

He recommended that any time the government buys a technology or service, it attach an R&D incentive to the contract.


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